August 25, 2011 / 6:51 PM / 8 years ago

Nation's Leading Environmental NGOs Unified Against Tar Sands Pipeline

Update on Day 5 of Tar Sand Pipeline Protest at the White House

See past update and background.

275 people have been arrested so far and many have been released. Today, the largest environmental groups in the US joined to send a letter to President Obama voicing their unified opposition to the Keystone pipeline and asking him to block it.

Why is this important? “For those of us out there in front of the White House, the best thing about this ringing statement is that the administration won’t be able to play one group off against another by making small concessions here and there”; says protest organizer Bill McKibben.

"There’s only one way to demonstrate to the environmental base the rhetoric of Obama’s 2008 campaign is still meaningful - and that’s to veto this pipeline. Since he can do it without even consulting Congress, this is one case where we’ll be able to see exactly how willing he is to match the rhetoric of his 2008 campaign."

The letter says:

Dear President Obama,

Many of the organizations we head do not engage in civil disobedience; some do. Regardless, speaking as individuals, we want to let you know that there is not an inch of daylight between our policy position on the Keystone Pipeline and those of the very civil protesters being arrested daily outside the White House.

This is a terrible project - many of the country’s leading climate scientists have explained why in their letter last month to you. It risks many of our national treasures to leaks and spills. And it reduces incentives to make the transition to job-creating clean fuels.

You have a clear shot to deny the permit, without any interference from Congress. It’s perhaps the biggest climate test you face between now and the election.

If you block it, you will trigger a surge of enthusiasm from the green base that supported you so strongly in the last election. We expect nothing less.


Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense Fund

Michael Brune, Sierra Club

Frances Beinecke, Natural Resources Defense Council

Phil Radford, Greenpeace

Larry Schweiger, National Wildlife Federation Erich Pica, Friends of the Earth

Rebecca Tarbotton, Rainforest Action Network

May Boeve,

Gene Karpinski, League of Conservation Voters

Margie Alt, Environment America

New York Times Also Opposes Pipeline

In an August 21 editorial, the NY Times took a opposition against the pipeline, citing two main concerns: the risk of oil spills along the pipeline, which would traverse highly sensitive terrain, and the fact that the extraction of petroleum from tar sands creates far more greenhouse emissions than conventional production does.

Building the pipeline would clear the way for Canada to double tar sands production over the next decade to more than 1.8 million barrels a day. To do that, some 740,000 acres of boreal forest - a natural carbon reservoir - would be destroyed.

In addition to the emissions produced by tar sands extraction, would be emissions from the loss of this vast, crucial carbon sink, [editor's note: not to mention the biodiversity it harbors.] Read the editorial:

Website: hereReprinted with permission from Sustainable Business

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